August 1st, 2003

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Parental report from Japan

My father and step-mother flew to Japan on Tuesday to visit my step-sister, who's teaching English there for a couple of years. Here's their first report!
We arrived in Japan on schedule and managed to navigate on our own to the hotel. Our stay there was very pleasant. Every one is friendly and helpful.

We explored Narita with a student of Lauren's and her daughter. We visited an incredible temple and witnessed a Buddhist ceremony there. The park surrounding it was very beautiful. The pond was full of goldfish and turtles. It is hot and humid here, and there are places that have the look and feel of a rain forest.

The hotel we stayed at was great...a true Japanese-style ryokan where futons are rolled up for the night. The food was wonderful but often unrecognizable. We are mastering chop sticks though we often glance at the next table to figure out how to handle a particular delicacy.

We knew before arrival that one did not wear shoes indoors, but it turns out that there is more to it than that. There are slippers provided to be worn in the house, others to be worn on the cement on the first floor, and others to be worn to use the toilet. The latter you want to be sure to leave in place as they have "toilet" printed clearly on them.

Today Lauren met us and we went with to the school at which she teaches. We got to meet more of her students (who adore her) and observe her working (she is very capable and enthusiastic).